Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday vowed to oppose what he called the Biden administration’s bid to destroy jobs with its volley of actions targeting the oil and gas industry.
Abbott signed an executive order during a press conference in Odessa on Thursday, which directed all state agencies to sue the Biden administration for any federal actions that threaten the Lone Star state’s energy sector.
“Texas is going to protect the oil and gas industry from any type of hostile attack launched from Washington D.C.,” Abbott said. “President Biden’s embrace of the green new deal is a job killer in Texas. It also takes a wrecking ball to the energy independence that Texas has been able to provide to the United States of America and Texas is not going to stand idly by and watch the Biden administration kill jobs in Midland, in Odessa or any other place across the entire region,” he added.
Abbott’s order (pdf) came on the heels of a series of executive actions taken by President Joe Biden in the name of fighting “climate change.” These include the decision to revoke authorization for the Keystone pipeline, the decision to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, and a moratorium on issuing new oil and gas leases on federal land and waters.
While Biden’s actions have drawn fire from Republicans, industry groups, and even some Democrats, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said at a Wednesday press briefing at the White House that Biden wants to make sure workers in the energy industry “have better choices” in jobs that “pay better” and are “cleaner,” giving the example of being a solar power technician instead of being a miner. Kerry also claimed that it’s a false notion that “dealing with climate” comes at the expense of energy workers, adding that there is “a lot of money to be made” in the creation of new “healthier” jobs in sectors such as green hydrogen, geothermal heat, and other renewables.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday criticized the Biden administration’s actions on energy policy that he collectively dubbed a “piecemeal green new deal.”
“There’s nothing green about a tsunami of pink slips for American workers, or carting Canadian crude around in trucks and trains instead of a pipeline,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “This piecemeal green new deal is the wrong prescription: wrong for the environment, wrong for national security, and most of all for the working Americans who will soon be formerly working Americans if this keeps up.”
“Wilfully throwing our own people out of work, reducing our domestic energy security, raising costs and prices for working families—all for no meaningful impact on global temperatures,” McConnell added.
McConnell also cited a study (pdf) by energy consulting firm OnLocation, which concluded that Biden’s oil and gas lease ban would mean the loss of nearly 1 million jobs by 2022.
“The decision on federal lands will leave us down nearly one million American jobs by next year alone,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “It’s a heck of a way to kick off a presidency.”
But Texas is “prepared to fight back,” Abbott said, with his executive order directing every state agency to, “use all lawful powers and tools to challenge any federal action that threatens the continued strength and vitality of the energy industry. Each state agency should work to identify potential litigation, notice and comment opportunities, and any other means of preventing federal overreach within the law.”
Abbott also said he would support legislation that would prohibit cities from banning natural gas appliances, an action he said was recently taken in San Francisco.
“In Texas, we will not let cities use political correctness to dictate what energy source you use,” he said.
Mimi Nguyen-Ly contributed to this report.